Category Archives: Classes

Fall Preserving Workshop

Fall Preserving

Fall Preserving Workshop
Sunday, October 26, 2014, 2-5pm
Communal, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to make all-natural preserves from luscious fall fruits and spices. You’ll roll up your sleeves, chop, stir, and make a jar each of pear jam and apple chutney to take home along with a recipe sheet.

We’ll discuss how to choose the most flavorful ingredients, how to make preserves without added pectin, how to safely can foods using the boiling water bath method, and any other questions you have about canning.

An afternoon of creative work and good company is not complete without refreshments, so we will provide delicious drinks and snacks. In addition, Emily will demonstrate (with tastings!) how to make liqueurs and cordials from seasonal fruits such as pears, persimmons, plums, and pomegranates.

Class size is limited to 20.

Secure your spot: Fall Preserving Workshop

Shrubs, Switchels, and Oxymels Workshop

Shrubs, Switchels, and Oxymels

Shrubs, Switchels, and Oxymels Workshop
Sunday, October 5, 2014, 2-4pm
Spice Station Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA

Have you wondered what the whole “drinking vinegar” craze is about? Shrubs have taken the cocktail world by storm, but these and other vinegar-based drinks have been around since Colonial America and even Ancient Greece. In this hands-on workshop you’ll learn all about shrubs, switchels, and oxymels, from their fascinating histories to their modern-day uses.

Drinking vinegars at a glance:
• Shrub = vinegar + sweetener + fruit … and sometimes herbs and spices
• Switchel = vinegar + sweetener + ginger … and sometimes rum
• Oxymel = vinegar + honey + herbs

More than just drinks with funny names, shrubs, switchels, and oxymels provide a refreshing, creative, and even healthy way to preserve seasonal ingredients, up your cocktail game, and take your herbal medicine. Drinking vinegars also make a great natural alternative to commercial sodas and artificial drinks.

After tasting some syrups, sodas, and cocktails, you’ll learn basic templates for making each vinegar drink, plus ideas for getting creative with your own variations. You’ll craft your own seasonal fruit shrub and oxymel to take home along with a recipe handout.

As a bonus, participants will also receive a 10% discount at Spice Station on the day of the class.

Class size is limited to 15. All supplies included. All ticket sales final.

Secure your spot: Shrubs, Switchels, and Oxymels Workshop

Conifer Syrup & the Best Conference Ever

CAMP

Most conferences I’ve attended have gone something like this: show up to some hotel ballroom, get a name badge, sit through endless panels and PowerPoint presentations, and then muster up the energy to attend a reception where I attempt to make small talk while holding a cup of so-so wine.

CAMP isn’t your average conference.

The brainchild of UNIQUE‘s Sonja Rasula, the very first CAMP drew together an inspiring group of entrepreneurs and creatives for an immersive experience unlike any I’ve had before. Up in the mountains two hours outside of LA, we had our comfort zones challenged, bonded with our peers, and attended workshops that stimulated both mind and body. No name tags, no cell phones, no stuffy hotel rooms, and no subpar booze (on the contrary, Proprietors LLC were on hand for evening cocktails and mixology lessons!). It was a four-day experience that I’ll remember for a lifetime.

CAMP

As the leader of a CAMP workshop called Wildcrafting with Conifers, I had the great joy of teaching participants about some of the wild foods in the woods around our camp. We focused on my favorite citrusy white fir (Abies concolor) and vanilla-scented Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi), both of which can be used to make fragrant syrups for cocktails, sodas, and more. I like mixing conifer syrup with fizzy water and a squeeze of lemon — splash of homemade gin optional. White fir can be especially aromatic and lemony and I love the syrup with fresh strawberries, drizzled over cake, and used to sweeten hot tea and lemonade. The possibilities are limitless.

CAMP

Depending on where you live, you could make conifer syrup with fir (Abies), Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), pine (Pinus), spruce (Picea), or hemlock (Tsuga; not to be confused with Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum, which is a completely different plant). Flavors vary between seasons and even individual plants, so nibble as you forage and pick what tastes and smells good to you. Never cut the top of a tree, which can open it up to decay and disease — just pinch or cut off the tips of the branches with pruning shears. As always when foraging, be mindful of the health of the plants, their ecosystem, and your role in it.

Because we did not have refrigeration in our cabins at CAMP, I had us make a shelf-stable rich syrup (2:1 sugar to water ratio), which has a lower water content and a splash of vodka to prevent spoilage. One could also make a 1:1 simple syrup and store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Conifer Syrup

Makes about 1 3/4 cup (14 ounces)

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 to 1 cup conifer tips and/or needles
1 ounce 100-proof vodka

Lightly bruise the conifer needles with a knife.

Combine the conifer needes, sugar, and water in a saucepan over low-moderate heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the solution is clear.

Let cool completely and strain. Stir in the vodka.

Bottle in a very clean, airtight bottle.

conifer syrup

p.s. We also made buttery shortbread cookies scented with white fir and orange zest! For that recipe, see my post at The Kitchn → Evergreen Shortbread Cookies